Focus on safeguarding for charities
Following the recent safeguarding revelations surrounding Oxfam and other charities, the Charity Commission has announced a range of measures focused on safeguarding charities:
- Summit on safeguarding in UK charities. The summit aims to highlight the safeguarding challenges faced by UK charities and emphasise the importance of maintaining public trust and confidence. It will hear the solutions proposed and agree to commit to actions to strengthen safeguarding procedures across the UK. A similar summit covering charities working internationally has already been announced.
- Additional safeguarding expertise. Independent safeguarding experts will be brought in to advise and support the Charity Commission in its investigations and its development of solutions.
- Communication with informants. Whistle-blowers have played a vital role in bringing their concerns to the Charity Commission. The Commission will review the way it communicates with informants and reassure them that their concerns have been acted upon.
The Commission has recently issued other guidance, reminding trustees of all charities of their responsibilities with regards to safeguarding. These include:
- Annual report on compliance case work – published February 2018
- Safeguarding strategy– updated in December 2017.
- Safeguarding alert– issued in December 2017
- Guidance on reporting serious incidents– updated in September 2017.
Trustees should be aware that they are at the centre of safeguarding responsibilities and safeguarding is a key governance priority for all charities, not just those working with groups traditionally considered vulnerable.
For advice on charity trustee responsibilities contact Elizabeth Irvine.